Trek Factory Racing were left with mixed emotions after finishing fourth in the stage one team time trial at the Vuelta a España. With powerhouse Fabian Cancellara in the team, they had gone in with all eyes on the victory. However, after a scare in the morning, they were left satisfied with making it through the 12.6-kilometre course without mishap.
“The feeling is good especially after what happened this morning with the whole team on the ground,” said directeur sportif Josu Larrazabal. “But when we see that we had a very competitive time, you feel a little bit disappointed, too.”
The opening day of the Vuelta a España was most certainly a day of two halves for the Trek team. With the evening start for the team time trial, they went out to reconnoitre the course in the morning, along with several other teams. However, the whole Vuelta nearly crumbled before their eyes.
While leading the team through one of the 17 roundabouts that littered the course Bob Jungels’ wheel went from under him and sent him tumbling. The rest of the team had nowhere to go and collided with the stricken Jungels. All nine riders hit the deck and the shocked directeur sportifs were left thinking that the Vuelta had ended before it even began.
“The team was in one line, Bob was first and lost control of his front wheel, and when the guy in front is on the ground it is difficult for the ones behind to avoid the crash,” said Larrazabal. “From the car we saw four or five guys on top of the others, and for a few seconds the feeling was terrible. We thought the worst - broken collarbones or ribs or something.”
Fortunately for Trek, the team were left with only minor cuts and bruises and they were able to bounce back with remarkable ease. Led across the line by Cancellara, they put in a time that was only three seconds off the current leaders Cannondale and went into provisional third. It later became fourth when Movistar finished. It was a result they could be happy with, but they were left lamenting the earlier crash after coming so close to victory.
“In the end the strategy was good, and maybe we were not the best in the roundabout, but after the crash of this morning that is to be expected,” said directeur sportif Adriano Baffi. “The boys did the best they could. They had a really strong performance. For sure they had a bit of a handicap from the crash, but that is not an excuse, it is just a reality.”